A good number of roads in parts of the Accra metropolis are in a deplorable state. A drive by the Daily Graphic through some parts of the national capital last Saturday revealed roads that were riddled with potholes of different sizes, shapes and depths.
The roads were crappy and in some places lumpy. Others had crumbling edges that created a jiggling effect when driving on them.
Apart from the danger these potholes pose to driving and the conditions of vehicles, concerned persons who spoke to the Daily Graphic expressed worry about the deplorable state of the roads and the health risk they posed to the health of the people especially women who may be in the early stages of pregnancies.
Asphalt project for five areas
Meanwhile, Naa Lamiley Bentil reports that five metropolitan areas have been selected by the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) to benefit from more than a 250-kilometres of asphaltic overlays.
The areas are Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Cape Coast and Sekondi-Takoradi.
The Director of the DUR, Mr Abass Awolu, who disclosed this in an interview, said the projects had been scheduled to begin in January next year and would be completed in six months.
He said the selected roads in these communities would be asphalted and critical drainage systems provided.
The stretches, he said, would also be provided with road furniture, among other facilities, to improve their conditions and ensure safety for road users.
Mr Awolu said out of Accra’s 1,650 km of roads, only 660 km is classified as good, 330 km as fair and the rest in poor conditions.
One of the very bad roads that the Graphic team visited was the La-Teibu street near the Palm Wine junction. Parts of the road had been eaten off with deep gullies that appeared like manholes.
The situation was no different from roads in front of the La Mother Mosque. The Nima roundabout, the Kokomlemle SSB road, as well as other roads in Madina, Ashongman Estates, Haatso and Russia near Sukura were all in deplorable conditions.
Situation worsened by the rains
The deplorable condition of the roads has been further worsened with the onset of the rains.
While drivers who use some of these roads regularly know the positions of the deep holes and, therefore, avoid them, those who may be driving on the roads for the first time often fall into these potholes.
Kofi Akwei, a taxi driver at Kotobabi, told the Daily Graphic that he had had his tyres burst on two occasions over the past one month because he bumped into potholes that had been covered by water on rainy days.
Major challenge to road users
He said potholes on the road posed a major challenge to drivers as they had to meander their ways around and in the process, veered into the lanes of oncoming vehicles.
Atta Mame who sells roast plantain and groundnut at Kokomlemle recounted to the Daily Graphic how two vehicles collided because one of them was attempting to dodge a pothole.
Michael Biney, a traffic warden at Labone who helps children to cross the road, said the poor conditions of the roads in the area made road crossing very dangerous especially for schoolchildren.
The reason, he said, was because “the drivers don’t keep to their lanes. They are dodging potholes so you cannot tell whether they are moving straight or not and before you realise they switch lanes and if a child is crossing, he or she gets confused and may rather move into the way of the oncoming vehicle”.
Pregnant woman’s experience
The Daily Graphic met a pregnant woman who had just exited the Police Hospital at Cantonments. She identified herself only as Naa and in a conversation recounted how she nearly suffered a miscarriage when a trotro she was travelling on from Labadi to Osu two months ago bumped into a big pothole that shook her to the core.
Laying the blame squarely on the government, Naa said “they drive in posh four-wheeled vehicles so even when they fall into potholes they don’t’ feel the impact and so they don’t care what we the ordinary people are going through”.
“Sometimes, by the time I close from work and reach home, I feel pains all over my body as if I had been fighting the whole day just because of the potholes that I drive through all day,” one trotro driver said.
Gov’t, AMA must be up and doing
Others that the Daily Graphic spoke to complained about the poor quality of patching done by people they described as “road patchers”.
They said the shoddy work done by these ‘road patchers’ sometimes worsened the condition of the already deplorable road.
Patching has become a full-time job that has been awarded on contract.
Everywhere in the country it is usual to see gangs of artisans patching potholes.
Most of them, it is believed, use dirty oil and chippings or gravels, instead of bitumen, and so when it rains the patched work is washed away.
The roads have become so bad that the phenomenon of one-man contractor has re-emerged with young unemployed men filling potholes with sand.
In some cases, women have also joined the filling of potholes for what they call “coins” which in other words is a token for their work.
All those who spoke to the Daily Graphic urged the government, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Urban Roads Department to deal swiftly with the conditions of the roads in the metropolis to ensure the safety of road users.
Source: Graphic Online